Friday, May 21, 2010 Macintosh Stories: MacBasic:

Unfortunately, there was another problem on the horizon. Apple's original deal with Microsoft for licensing Applesoft Basic had a term of eight years, and it was due to expire in September 1985. Apple still depended on the Apple II for the lion's share of its revenues, and it would be difficult to replace Microsoft Basic without fragmenting the software base. Bill Gates had Apple in a tight squeeze, and, in an early display of his ruthless business acumen, he exploited it to the hilt. He knew that Donn's Basic was way ahead of Microsoft's, so, as a condition for agreeing to renew Applesoft, he demanded that Apple abandon MacBasic, buying it from Apple for the price of $1, and then burying it. He also used the renewal of Applesoft, which would be obsolete in just a year or two as the Mac displaced the Apple II, to get a perpetual license to the Macintosh user interface, in what probably was the single worst deal in Apple's history, executed by John Sculley in November 1985.